APPEAL FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
26CR-10-272] HONORABLE MARCIA R. HEARNSBERGER, JUDGE
Wayne Brown, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rebecca Bailey Kane, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. Wynne, Associate Justice
Bruce Wayne Brown brings this appeal from the denial of a pro
se petition and amended petition for postconviction relief
filed in the trial court pursuant to Rule 37.1 (2016) of the
Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. Brown raises one point
on appeal, contending that the trial court failed to
specifically address all the claims raised in his petition
and amended petition and therefore committed reversible error
pursuant to Rule 37.3(a). Brown raised multiple claims for
postconviction relief based on ineffective assistance of
counsel, and the trial court conducted an evidentiary
hearing. At that hearing, Brown did not specifically reassert
all the claims set forth in the petitions. A recitation of
the claims raised in the petitions and addressed at the
hearing is unnecessary as Brown has waived the substantive
issues set forth in his pro se petitions as well as those
issues raised during the hearing. We therefore affirm.
record demonstrates that the trial court conducted an
evidentiary hearing and ruled on some, but not all, of
Brown's allegations of attorney error. Specifically, the
record reflects that following the hearing, the trial court
issued a detailed letter explaining its finding and
conclusions and subsequently entered an order that reiterated
those findings and conclusions with respect to the majority
of Brown's claims. The trial court found that the
attorney errors complained of by Brown were either matters of
trial strategy or were based on issues that had been
addressed on direct appeal, and it concluded that Brown had
otherwise failed to meet the standard set forth in
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
Finally, the trial court denied claims raised by Brown in his
petitions that Brown had not reasserted or supported by
testimony or evidence during the course of the hearing. Brown
did not file a motion or other pleading asking the trial
court to enter rulings on issues which Brown believed had
been erroneously omitted from the trial court's order
denying relief. Based on the above, Brown's reliance on
Rule 37.3(a) for reversal is misplaced as the facts presented
here are not controlled by Rule 37.3(a), which is pertinent
to a trial court's summary disposition of a
postconviction petition without conducting a hearing.
Rule 37.3(a) the trial court is obligated to enter findings
specifying the parts of the record that form the basis for
the trial court's decision. Smith v. State, 300
Ark. 291, 295, 778 S.W.2d 924, 926 (1989). However, we may
make an exception to the written-findings requirement of Rule
37.3(a) in those cases in which our own examination of the
record demonstrates conclusively that the trial court was
correct in denying relief. Id. On the other hand,
where an evidentiary hearing is held pursuant to Rule
37.3(c), we have made it clear that the requirement of
written findings of fact is mandatory and applies to any
issue upon which a Rule 37 hearing is held. Id.
Here, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing and
issued written findings on those issues it considered to have
been raised during the course of the hearing.
37.3(c) of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure provides
that, following a hearing on the petitioner's request for
postconviction relief, the trial court "shall determine
the issues and make written findings of fact and conclusions
of law with respect thereto." Beshears v.
State, 340 Ark. 70, 73, 8 S.W.3d 32, 34 (2000). When a
trial court's order contains written findings on some,
but not all, of the claims raised in proceedings below, we
have held that it is the appellant's obligation to obtain
a ruling on any omitted issue in order to preserve those
issues for appeal. Id. We have specifically held
that a request that the trial court modify its order to
include an omitted issue is not a request for rehearing that
is prohibited by Rule 37.2(d). Id. We have said on
numerous occasions that the failure to obtain a ruling below
bars review of the issue on appeal. State v. Rainer,
2014 Ark. 306, at 15-16, 440 S.W.3d 315, 324; see also
Oliver v. State, 323 Ark. 743, 918 S.W.2d 690 (1996). If
Brown believed that the trial court had erroneously failed to
rule on issues raised during the hearing, it was his
obligation to request rulings on those issues. By failing to
do so, Brown has waived any issues that he now alleges should
have been ruled on by the trial court.
because Brown fails to argue the merits of the claims on
which the trial court ruled, those issues are considered
abandoned. Arguments made to the trial court but not included
in the arguments on appeal are considered abandoned.
Jordan v. State, 356 Ark. 248, 256, 147 S.W.3d ...